Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

Front Cover
Crown Publishers, 2010 - Fiction - 338 pages
20 Reviews
Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. “Ma très chère . . .” Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. “I loved you so,” he said. “I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of us when we began, you gave us courage. These gardens at Giverny are for you but I'm old and you're forever young and will never see them. . . .”
 
In the mid-nineteenth century, a young man named Claude Monet decided that he would rather endure a difficult life painting landscapes than take over his father's nautical supplies business in a French seaside town. Against his father's will, and with nothing but a dream and an insatiable urge to create a new style of art that repudiated the Classical Realism of the time, he set off for Paris.
 
But once there he is confronted with obstacles: an art world that refused to validate his style, extreme poverty, and a war that led him away from his home and friends. But there were bright spots as well: his deep, enduring friendships with men named Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet – a group that together would come to be known as the Impressionists, and that supported each other through the difficult years. But even more illuminating was his lifelong love, Camille Doncieux, a beautiful, upper-class Parisian girl who threw away her privileged life to be by the side of the defiant painter and embrace the lively Bohemian life of their time.
 
His muse, his best friend, his passionate lover, and the mother to his two children, Camille stayed with Monet—and believed in his work—even as they lived in wretched rooms, were sometimes kicked out of those, and often suffered the indignities of destitution. She comforted him during his frequent emotional torments, even when he would leave her for long periods to go off on his own to paint in the countryside.
 
But Camille had her own demons – secrets that  Monet could never penetrate, including one that when eventually revealed would pain him so deeply that he would never fully recover from its impact. For though Camille never once stopped loving the painter with her entire being, she was not immune to the loneliness that often came with being his partner.
 
A vividly-rendered portrait of both the rise of Impressionism and of the artist at the center of the movement, Claude and Camille is above all a love story of the highest romantic order.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bettyandboo - LibraryThing

I confess ... I completely picked up this book because of the cover. (Admit it, you would have too.) As one of the artists known as the Impressionists, Claude Monet's paintings have become among the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - seasonsoflove - LibraryThing

Monet is my favorite painter of all-time; I can't count how many times I've visited his paintings at the Art Institute, and walking through his gardens at Giverney was the experience of a lifetime ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
7
Section 3
19
Section 4
35
Section 5
39
Section 6
102
Section 7
106
Section 8
159
Section 14
219
Section 15
237
Section 16
255
Section 17
258
Section 18
265
Section 19
283
Section 20
286
Section 21
291

Section 9
166
Section 10
169
Section 11
187
Section 12
209
Section 13
215
Section 22
299
Section 23
331
Section 24
335
Section 25
337
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

STEPHANIE COWELL is the author of Nicholas Cooke: Actor, Soldier, Physician, Priest; The Physician of London (American Book Award 1996) and The Players: A Novel of the Young Shakespeare. She is the also the author of Marrying Mozart, which was translated into seven languages and has been optioned for a movie. Visit her at www.stephaniecowell.com and http://everydaylivesfrenchimpressionists.blogspot.com.

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